22 August 2006

Talk amongst yourselves: Best vendor of digital photo books?

In the comments of this travel photo hack, in which I talked about photo books printed using one's collection of uploaded digital pictures, Roger asked:

Who has printed these books? What are the best vendors? Do ANY of these vendors offer photo books with titles printed on the spine?

Care to comment?

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I've been very happy with Shutterfly.com. I have gotten several to give as gifts, as well as for us to keep. I've received them as gifts, too. The quality is very good. They don't print on the spine, that I know of, though.

I love Shutterfly ( http://www.shutterfly.com/ ). The books look great, soft-cover and hard-cover. No printing on the spine, though.

There are lots of page styles, layouts, and cover types. I also love their print quality for all their products.

(If you do uPromise, they contribute 7%, which is really good.)

I had a good experience with PhotoWorks ( http://www.photoworks.com/. They have some nice web features for creating the books including several book formats, book styles, and page layouts. The quality of the book was good, though I do wish that the book had a stronger binder.

I absolutely ADORE Shutterfly's photobooks. They're so professional-looking! In fact, I blogged about making a couple for the grandmas on Mother's Day here: http://shootingthekids.dpblogs.com/2006/05/17/great-gift-idea-making-a-photo-book-on-shutterfly/

I am the biggest fan of Flickr, don't get me wrong. But they have NOTHING that compares to these cool Shutterfly photo books. It's really unfortunate, too, because I use Flickr for sharing my photos, and when I want to make a book on Shutterfly, I have to download a whole batch of photos I already have stored online to a different service. Flickr really has to get on this!

One True Media offers photo books that print the name of the book on the spine. They look nice - you can also do a online photobooks that are set to music (and mix in video if you like.) Very fun service. Their core value is creating videos that you can turn into personalized DVDs or share online. I do communications for them but am also a parent and an OTM customer!

I've tried a few services, and the one that came out on top was My Publisher (http://www.mypublisher.com). Unlike other services which make you lay out the book online after you upload your pictures, My Publisher has a downloadable app that allows you to edit your book offline and just upload the final product at the very end. Saves a lot of time when you have ALL your photos at hand to do the layout. I did my wedding album with this service, and was very pleased with the result.

I second the reccomendation for My Publisher (http://www.mypublisher.com). I work at a school and last year we had 6(!) retirements - we typically do a scrapbook of old photos and letters from past students as a retirement and no one wanted to tackle 6 scrapbooks! We used My Publisher and over several weeks assembled the books and letters in their app. What we got were BEAUTIFUL photo/journal books for each teacher (one had been at the school for 35 years so it was very long).

They each were in awe over the books - they were beautiful, easy to put together and able to fulfill our need for more then a photo album - some pages were just letters from former students, other pages had photo collections.

Great customer service, too!

Slate did an article about this recently. They compared several leading services. Here's the link:

Definitely Blurb! (www.blurb.com) They have beautifully designed templates for baby books that are far better than anything else I've found.

I used a service called Picaboo to make hard-cover photobooks for my family. You download their program and design each page in it. There are templates you can use (lots of them) or you can layout each page yourself -- kind of like scrapbooking.

The quality was great, so was the price.

Am I the only one that likes Kodakgallery - formerly ofoto.com?

I have tried shutterfly, but ofoto.com has a better selection in the kind of books you can make. I've done mini albums - one full blown photo per page - photo albums - several photos in a variety of styles per page - and legacy books - gorgeous bindings.

The tricks for photo enhancing is also much better on ofoto.com than any other site that I've seen.

We used Snapfish to do a "yearbook" for our daughters first birthday. The results were fantastic! Many of the Mommies at the party commented on how well it turned out. The only thing I did not like about the process was that the program did not have an internal spell check. Oops! Other than a couple typos (my fault) the results were perfect! THe rest of the program to build the book was very user friendly.

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Apple's book. Of course, I haven't really seen many photo books, but the three I did see were produced via iPhoto and Apple's site. (Which means they're probably expensive -- I don't know.) All three looked fantastic.

Well, it looks like I'm the only Macintosh guy around here. I love iPhoto's built-in photo book tool. I don't have to upload my photos to a website to work on the book, or even be online. Its great!
Lots of different layouts, and beautiful results. Although no printing on the spine.

I heard that the books produced by Apple's iPhoto are actually outsourced to MyPublisher when you submit your order. I don't know if this arrangement has changed.

I also came across www.sharedink.com. I haven't tried them but the reviews I saw were very positive.

I've used both Snapfish and My Publisher. I think Snapfish's interface is just a little easier to use, and their hardcover books are less than My Publisher's. But since My Publisher currently has two different coupon offers running, that's what I'm using to make an album for my cousin of her wedding, shower and reception.

I also make albums every year as Christmas presents, and they are far and away the most popular things under the tree!

Shutterfly is my pick for doing a project affordably, and their project creation tools are powerful yet easy to figure out. They also ship really quick. Otherwise, I like Qoop, which I recently used to print all of my Flickr photos in book form (and yes! They printed the title on the spine!). But it was hella expensive. Anyway they have some new services they just launched that you may want to check out.

Blurb looks promising also, though I have not had a chance to actually have anything printed with them yet (I plan to, when they start blog publishing).

Hi – I’m Caroline Vanderlip, the CEO of SharedBook Inc, and the mother of a 5-year old. I’ve got a parent hack related to digital photo books that I created for working moms like myself, and my company is now marketing the product.

We offer a Baby MemoryBook, which is an easy way for busy mothers to create a book with the photos and experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and the joy of the new arrival. We also offer a host of other books, such as a Travel Book, a Dog Book, a Cat Book and many, many more. You do it all online, and the printed full-color book is shipped (free!) to your home. No more stacks of photos waiting to be added manually to books or sitting on a computer with no place to go. Plus, our book allows you, as an option, to invite friends and family to the online space to add photos and stories, and to choose from these additions when creating the final printed book.

Visit us and see for yourself – http://www.sharedbook.com

I have been coveting a Mac since I played with iPhoto in the Apple store. Unfortunately I have a 6-month old Dell laptop so I don't think I'll be switching anytime soon. Does anyone know if Macs are available for use in a computer lab environment? The same way PC's are available for use at library's and at Kinkos.

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